Friday, January 24, 2020

Benzodiazepines are Prescribed at Alarming Rates

Each day in America, some 130 people lose their lives to an overdose. As most of our readers know, the United States has long been amid an opioid scourge. While opioids are the driving force of fatal overdoses, other drugs are playing a significant role too.

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there were about 13,000 deaths involving methamphetamine nationwide in 2018. What's more, meth-related overdoses surpassed prescription painkillers since late last year.

While stimulant use is a growing concern in the U.S., and Congressional lawmakers are taking steps to tackle the problem, there is another drug that is stealing the lives of Americans. Prescription sedatives such as benzodiazepines or "benzos" are often involved in overdose deaths. 

Benzodiazepines are a class of central nervous system depressants. Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Ativan (Lorazepam), and Klonopin (clonazepam) are all part of this family of highly addictive drugs. The medications listed above are the most commonly prescribed, but there are many others as well.

Benzos are dangerous when used alone, and regular use and abuse leads to addiction. When too many of these types of drugs are taken, an overdose can result. However, when opioids and benzodiazepines are used in conjunction, the risk of overdose increases significantly.

While there are some indications that doctors are now less willing to prescribe opioids than before, the same is not the case for drugs like Xanax and Klonopin. Alarming new data shows a dramatic rise in benzodiazepine prescriptions in recent years.

A Multifaceted Overdose Epidemic

The CDC has released data on benzodiazepine prescriptions that are cause for significant concern. Researchers found that between 2014 and 2016, doctors prescribed these hazardous drugs at about 65.9 million office-based doctor visits, CNN reports. That figure breaks down to 27 annual visits per 100 adults.

When benzodiazepines are taken as prescribed, they can alleviate people's anxiety and help people who struggle with sleeping. However, when this class of drug is misused or mixed with alcohol or opioids, then overdose risk increases exponentially.

The study found that one-third of doctor's visits where benzos were prescribed also involved an overlapping opioid prescription from 2014 to 2016, according to the article. Many patients are not aware that an admixture of both drugs can lead to an overdose.

As mentioned above, benzodiazepine abuse is hazardous on its own. They are incredibly addictive, and detoxification often requires medical supervision. Unlike opioid withdrawal, benzos detoxification can be fatal; heavy users can experience seizures that can be deadly.

"This is a really undercovered story," said Keith Humphreys, a psychologist and Esther Ting Memorial Professor at Stanford University. "I think of it as the hidden element of our overdose epidemic that does need attention."

Other study findings include that women sought benzodiazepine prescriptions more than men, and a primary care provider wrote almost half of all prescriptions, the article reports. The researchers also found that the number of doctor visits for benzos increased with age.

"The most alarming finding in this study are the numbers about the elderly, this is the population that face the most danger from the drugs," said Dr. Joanna Starrels, an associate professor in the department of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Post-Treatment Support for Benzodiazepine Addiction

If you recently completed an addiction treatment program for a sedative or opioid use disorder, then you can significantly benefit from a structured sober living. At HAUS Recovery, we can help you strengthen your program and mitigate the risk of

Friday, January 10, 2020

Addiction Recovery: Progress, Not Perfection

recovery progress
At HAUS Recovery, we believe that progress is a pillar of addiction recovery. Those who succeed in achieving long-term sobriety are the men and women who are willing to do whatever it takes for continued self-growth. Working a program is a life-long process, which means a daily commitment to enhancing and strengthening your program.

The longer you are in recovery, the more you will see your life improve in a myriad of ways. From reuniting with family to finishing your education and landing a good job, anything is possible for men and women who stay on the path.

Naturally, working a daily, year-round program of recovery requires tremendous effort. One can never become complacent or rest on their laurels, regardless of the amount of clean and sober time you have.

Early recovery is when your program is at the most significant risk of coming apart. The brain is still healing, and it takes time to learn effective ways of coping with the stressors of life. It’s vital that you stick as close to the circle of recovery as best you can, and avoid people, places, and things that can compromise your hard work.

If you are on the verge of leaving rehab, then we strongly advise you to reach out for post-treatment support services in the form of sober living. Those who opt for continued structured support following treatment set themselves up for achieving continued progress.

Prioritizing Progress in Addiction Recovery

Progress in recovery can be measured in several ways, and you mustn’t stress over how quickly you reach milestones. In the first year of recovery, setting and meeting objectives is made more accessible by living in the company of people working toward similar goals.

Those who opt for sober living after treatment benefit enormously from having a strong support network close by as they make the transition from rehab to everyday life. It’s equivalent to walking into a dark lake slowly versus diving headfirst; you do not know what lies beneath the surface.

Being able to access emotional support and having role models to look to will help you make progress. The people you live with will also aid you in problem-solving should issues arise. Residing in sober living will help you practice honesty, which is essential to achieving long-term recovery. 

Years of and drug and alcohol misuse and abuse leave the mind and body malnourished. In treatment, you probably learned how to adopt more healthy eating habits and about the benefits of exercise. Once in sober living, your mentors will encourage you to stay on the path of a healthy life. Nourishing the body will help your mind heal from the ravages of addiction, which will help you make better decisions because you think more clearly.

In recovery, it’s about progress, not perfection. Attending meetings, volunteering your time, working with others, doing the steps with a sponsor, eating right, and exercising will all position you for making progress in recovery. All of the above will help you keep your mind off the past and stay focused on the present so that you can have a bright and productive future in recovery.

Santa Monica Structured Sober Living

Those who seek the assistance of HAUS Recovery will have access to all the helpful things mentioned above. You will receive emotional support and guidance from your peers and staff; our chef prepares fresh and delicious organic meals, a complimentary gym membership, and more are available to residents.

At HAUS, you will grow in strength as you form healthy relationships with men and women who share similar paths and collective goals for the future. Having a fellowship will also help you gauge your progress; it’s not always easy to tell when you are improving, your peers can share valuable insights and instruct you in many ways.

Please contact us today to learn how HAUS can help you continue making progress in recovery. 888-551-4715

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Relapse Prevention: 90 Meetings in 90 Days

At HAUS Recovery, we hope that you had a safe and sober Christmas and are making preparations for keeping your recovery intact into the New Year. Relapse prevention is a staple of early recovery and beyond, and significant holidays often derail people’s programs. Those who manage to maintain their sobriety during the holiday season have to double their efforts to avoid risky situations.

Still, preventing relapse can be challenging regardless of what time of the year it is; the disease of addiction is continually trying to elbow its way back into your life. In order to safeguard your recovery, you must continue utilizing the relapse prevention tools you learned in treatment. Moreover, you must always put your recovery ahead of everything else; people who put their recovery first make it last.

Lasting recovery is the goal for anyone who has a history of alcohol or substance use disorder. Those who achieve long-term recovery following treatment quite often seek the assistance of a structured sober living home. Changing your way of life depends heavily on having safety nets in place to help prevent getting off track. What’s more, having a strong support group – such as those attending 12 Step meetings – is vital.

In treatment, you probably learned about the value of joining a fellowship like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It’s likely that you were also encouraged to enter sober living immediately following your discharge. As we mentioned in a previous post, returning to your home after treatment can be hazardous to recovery. Hopefully, you followed your aftercare guidance. Perhaps you are living in a sober or transitional living home currently?

In any event, sober living or not, your goal of achieving long-term recovery depends on attending meetings daily. Repetition is essential to people in early recovery.

Meeting Makers Make It

If you are in sober living, then you are probably instructed to attend a meeting of recovery every day of the week. Finding a homegroup and a sponsor will help you adopt the principles needed for leading a life in recovery. You may have to attend several different groups before you find one that will be your homegroup. Be on the lookout for a sponsor once you’ve established a daily meeting of choice. It’s incredibly beneficial to share the same homegroup as your sponsor.

A sponsor will walk you through the Steps, and he or she will be your go-to person for support, but they will not be the only individual you turn to for help. When you attend the same meeting seven days a week, you begin to develop relationships with individual members of the group. Such people will not just be lifelines in times of crisis, and they will also become your friends.

Leading a life in recovery means letting go of past acquaintances, primarily the people who used drugs and alcohol with you. Attending meetings is an opportunity to foster healthy and supportive relationships with men and women who share your goal of lasting sobriety. Such people, like your sponsor, are also a source of accountability.

Bonds are formed when your recovery peers see you day after day. If for some reason you miss a meeting, such individuals will reach out to you and see if you need assistance. However, it will be difficult to form lasting bonds with members of your homegroup if you are regularly absent. Even though there will be days that you do not feel like attending a meeting, it’s beneficial to set the goal of attending 90 meetings in 90 days following treatment.

90 Meetings In 90 Days Prevents Relapse

When attending meetings becomes a routine, you may start looking at them differently than you did initially. Going to your homegroup will not seem like a quotidian chore; instead, you will see them as a chance to charge your spiritual battery. What’s more, daily meetings will help you get in the practice of speaking in front of others without fear or trepidation.

Sharing at meetings lets your support network know how you are doing; it’s a means of checking in. If you are struggling with some aspect of the program, then another member will likely reach out to offer guidance after the meeting. Their advice could help you prevent making a decision that could lead to a relapse.

Conversely, your daily attendance will help you get in the necessary practice of extending your hand to newcomers with less time than you. Recovery is maintained by paying it forward; you are responsible for passing on what you have learned to those who are new to the program.

Structured Sober Living in Early Recovery

If you or a loved one is on the verge of being discharged from an addiction treatment center, then please contact HAUS Recovery. We also invite people who are new to the program but did not attend rehab to contact us as well. Our team of dedicated professionals can help you strengthen your program. We are available at any time to provide you with more information about our program. (888) 551-4715

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Sober Living Following Addiction Treatment

The road to lasting recovery often begins at an addiction treatment center. Those who opt for the treatment route will benefit in several ways, from safely detoxing to learning tools for maintaining long-term recovery. Moreover, such individuals also find it advantageous to spend time in a safe, supportive environment away from influences that could jeopardize their ability to heal.

The importance of the last feature of addiction treatment mentioned above cannot be discounted. Maintaining a program of addiction recovery is exceptionally challenging even under the best of circumstances (i.e., family support and financial resources).

Attempting to adopt a program of abstinence in one's usual environs is next to impossible for many individuals, which is why people seek treatment given the option. Being able to be free of people, places, and things that might compromise the goal of recovery is especially beneficial. A 30, 60, or 90-day program gives people the time needed to establish new routines away from the common pitfalls of early recovery.

Still, addiction treatment is a finite experience; one cannot stay away from the outside world interminably. Each person needs to return to the world at large eventually. Hopefully, one will have a set of recovery tools and coping mechanisms in place to prevent relapse upon discharge. However, the prospect of returning home following treatment is often problematic, even with the above skills at one's disposal.

With that in mind, treatment centers almost always recommend sober living to clients who are about to be discharged. There is a myriad of advantages to opting for a structured, sober living home following a stay in residential treatment.

Maintain Your Recovery Following Treatment

If you or a loved one is about to exit an inpatient treatment program, then we strongly advise that you consider sober living. Returning home right after rehab places individuals back into harm's way when one's recovery is still fragile. The stresses of everyday life can prove to be daunting in early recovery; anything you can do to safeguard your sobriety should be done.

While it is possible to succeed by immediately starting to attend 12-step meetings, getting a sponsor, and working the steps, many people find it challenging to steer clear of things that can derail their program. Old ways of thinking may come back, along with selfish and self-centered behaviors. 

Choosing sober living will shield people from that which might compromise their program. Transitional living homes also provide men and women with an extra level of accountability in the nascent stage of recovery. If you choose this route, then you will find yourself living amongst other men and women who share your goals. You will form bonds and lasting friendships with others in the recovery community.

Long-term sobriety is achieved together with others, not alone. Your peers will prove to be vital lifelines that you can turn to when extra support is required. As you tackle new experiences with a clear and sober mind, you will find that sober living helps you continue working toward the goals you set for yourself while in treatment.

To that end, HAUS Recovery's certified counselors coordinate with the addiction professionals you worked with while in treatment. With our support and structured schedule, your self-esteem will strengthen, and you will be able to be more independent in recovery at a safe and gradual pace.

Structured Sober Living in Santa Monica

Please reach out to HAUS Recovery to learn more about our programs and the benefits of choosing sober living. Members of our team are available at any time to field the questions or concerns that you may have. We look forward to helping you embark on a journey to wellness and wholeness and showing you that a life of recovery can be both healing and fun.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why Spending Time in Nature Helps the Addiction Recovery Process

spending time in nature helps the addiction recovery process

Each person’s recovery is unique. The tools they’ll need to stay substance-free will depend on their specific needs. However, a few commonly used tools are helpful for most people in their journey of recovery. These include physical exercise, group meetings, a healthy diet and spending time outdoors. 

It’s easy to overlook the importance of being in nature. Most of us become so busy with our daily lives that we forget to carve out time to maintain our physical and emotional health. People struggling with substance use disorder don’t have that luxury. Tending to their wellbeing is one of the most important things in their lives. 

Let’s look at why spending time outdoors is essential for the addiction recovery process.

Benefits of Spend Time Outdoors

People who don’t spend time outside report higher levels of stress and a greater number of health problems. That is true across all social spectrums. Regardless of where a person lives or how much money they make, being outdoors is helpful for everyone. 

Studies have found that spending time in green spaces reduces the risk of…
  • Type II diabetes, 
  • Cardiovascular disease, 
  • Premature death, 
  • Diastolic blood pressure, 
  • Heart rate,
  • Stress, and 
  • Levels of salivary cortisol -- a physiological marker of stress.
Spending time in nature increases sleep duration and results in higher reported levels of happiness. There are also byproducts of spending time outside that offer other perks. For example, people who spend time outside also tend to be more active, whether by walking, jogging or hiking. 

Impact of Being in Nature in Addiction Recovery

All the benefits listed above also help people in recovery. Spending time outside also aids addiction recovery by improving self-efficacy, the belief in one’s self to maintain behaviors necessary to achieve their goals. Being outdoors boosts a person’s mood. It is both invigorating and peaceful. 

So many of the tools people use to sustain their recovery are cultivated by being in nature. Reducing stress, boosting your mood and engaging in exercise are critical for a sustainable recovery. Making space in your routine to spend time in nature will provide exponential benefits for your mental, physical and spiritual health 

How to Make Nature Time Part of Your Routine

Though you don’t need to devote several hours a day outside to start reaping nature’s benefits, you should make it a priority to factor it into your weekly plan. A week-long vacation in which you spend a lot of time in nature isn’t enough to have a consistent impact on your health. However, spending just two hours a week in nature will reap physical and mental benefits. 

You can start by incorporating walks outside a couple times a week. It’s not necessary to go into the wilderness to be in nature. Instead, be mindful of finding green spaces - any place where there are plenty of trees, grass and sunlight. Beaches are another great location to spend time outside. Your own neighborhood or backyard might be the perfect place to start. You can also search for hiking trails in your area. 

As is the case with adding any new activities in your routine, convenience is key. Find an easy way to get outdoors and go for a walk. Once you make it a habit, you can then start finding more ways to venture outside for longer periods. 

At HAUS, Spending Time Outdoors Is Part of Our Approach

At HAUS, we know the importance of spending time in nature. It’s part of our approach to treating our clients’ physical, mental and spiritual needs. We offer a lush lawn, flowering shrubs and a lovingly tended vegetable garden. We also encourage our clients to make time in nature part of their normal routines. 

If you’d like to learn more about our addiction recovery services and programs, please contact our staff today. Call 888-551-4715 to speak with an admissions counselor and learn more about our beautiful California facility.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Making Negative Self-Talk More Positive

If you’re like most people in recovery, you’re likely dealing with some negative chatter in your head. And it’s likely the worst when you’re alone or when you’re ruminating about something or when you face a challenge or setback in your recovery. Not all mind chatter is bad. It can motivate you to do better or move forward – like when your inner critic reminds you that what you’re about to drink or eat isn't healthy or what you’re about say or do may not be wise.

But negative self-talk can also pose a real hazard to your health, especially when it’s telling you that you’re not good enough or deserving enough. Any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make a positive change in your life can stunt your sobriety success.

Negative self-talk has been found to impact everything from your self-esteem to your energy to your mental health. It has also been linked to black-and-white thinking, perfectionism and depression – which can all be detrimental to your recovery.

How to Flip the Switch

It is possible to flip negative self-talk into positive thoughts – and you can start today. The next time that inner critic starts chattering, try asking yourself: Are these words helpful or encouraging? Am I being rational and reasonable? Is this something I’d say to my best friend? This is a great way to shift your self-talk and tame any negativity in your head.

Here are a few more ideas to try:
  • Recognize it. Now that you’re in recovery, you know too well that you can’t change a problem if you don’t recognize you have a problem. So, your first step is to pay attention to your inner critic. Take notice when you say things about yourself that you would never say to a friend or family member.
  • Remember feelings aren’t facts. Just because you’re thinking negatively about yourself, it doesn’t mean that those thoughts are true. Negative self-talk is subject to bias and it’s often influenced by your mood and/or challenges or setbacks you may be facing.
  • Give yourself a limit. Stopping your negative self-talk won’t happen overnight. Knowing this, it’s wise to put a limit on your inner critic. Allow yourself to be negative for no more than one hour per day.
  • Turn negativity into neutrality. It will likely be easier to catch your negative self-talk than to stop it in its tracks. This said, you can change its course by using gentler language. For example, “I can’t” becomes “This is challenging” or “I hate” becomes “It’s not my favorite” and so on.
  • Question your inner critic. Most often, self-talk is an exaggeration. Call yourself out and ask: Is this really true? Do I really believe this?
  • Say it out loud. Sometimes simply saying a negative thought aloud can help lessen its power and shine light on how ridiculous you sound. Other times, it can bring support. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, recovery peer or counselor about any of the negative thoughts standing in your way.
  • Replace it with something positive. This will take practice, by the next time you have a negative thought about yourself, replace it with something positive. This exercise is a great way to develop a more positive way of thinking about yourself and your new sober life.

A Positive Life With Deeper Purpose

At Haus Recovery, we help our clients stay confident as they master their full recovery potential. To learn more about our services and activities, call us today: 888-551-4715.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Decision-Making and Your Recovery

decision-making and your recovery
We make decisions every minute of the day: What time do I need to wake up? What should I eat for breakfast? Can I find time to exercise? What daily tasks should I focus on first? Will I allow traffic to stress me out?

During recovery, these seemingly simple choices can be overwhelming at times. This is because you’re still learning how to regulate your emotions and how to prevent them from fully driving your decisions.

Smart Tips for Smarter Decisions

Learning to make smart choices and decisions is crucial for preventing relapse and creating a fulfilling sober life – and these tips can help.

Weigh the pros and cons: While some choices can be made in a split-second, there are others that require greater contemplation. For these tougher decisions, try writing down the choice, plus the pros and cons. Consider keeping a journal so you can look back and see all of the decision-making progress you’ve made.

Consider the big picture: Maintaining sobriety often means making some tough choices – like parting ways with old friends or loved ones who could jeopardize your sobriety or who are toxic to your emotional well-being. But it also means making some great choices that will keep you feeling energized and motivated in your recovery. For example, should I take a new class or try a new support group? Either way, when making a choice, it’s best to consider the big picture. Ask yourself:
  • Will my choice support my recovery or put me at risk of relapse?
  • Will my choice make me a better person?
  • Will my choice help me maintain self-respect and dignity?
  • Will my choice make me smile and feel good about me?
  • Will my choice allow me to stay in control of my emotions and actions?
  • Will my choice align with my recovery goals?
Understand what it means to not decide: Making no decision at all is also a choice, and it can be a good thing when used correctly. Learning to make positive choices in recovery often requires stepping back to think through the steps before making a decision. Giving yourself this extra time can give you more control of your recovery and allow you to move in the right direction. Consider talking over these types of tough decisions with a trustworthy friend or loved one and then commit to making a good choice. 
Believe in the new sober you: A big part of making good choices is believing that you deserve good choices that can lead to better things in your life. This means learning to move past regret, focus on the present and believe in yourself and your abilities. While this won’t happen overnight, your self-confidence will grow each day as you remain sober. 

Post-Treatment Support for Men & Women

At Haus Recovery, we provide our clients with continued support as they transition from a secure recovery environment to a sober life filled with daily decisions, stress and tension. To learn more about our activities and services, call us today: 888-551-4715.